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California's VFW and the Tipton American Legion Post will be hosting a National POW/MIA Observance at 4 p.m. this Friday at AA Propane.

The observance happens every third Friday of September each year.

"It has to be signed by Proclamation by the president because Congress decided we had enough holidays, and they didn't want anymore," VFW officer George Shelley said. "So it's every year the president signs a proclamation to remember those who are missing in action and/or prisoners of war; so the VFW and the American legion team together on this every year. We are in the process of trying to get California, Missouri, named as a POW/MIA city."

This will be California's second year holding a ceremony, but there will be many from coast to coast everywhere from military bases to ships at sea to the national capital. Everyone is invited to help remember the more than 81,000 still missing in action, with half of them being lost at sea. That's not just including Vietnam or Afghanistan but also those dating back to World War I.

"Back in the ancient times, when a group was going into battle, they would get a big stick (and) they would carve a sign or symbol of some sort on one and then they'd get another one and carve the same symbol, put one in the ground way back behind the field of battle, stick it in the ground. The other would go on their person so when the battle was over and the dead were being figured out you found the stick, you found the stick and then you could figure out who that was," Shelley said.

Identification has come a long way since then with dog tags and GPS, but there are still times when that's not enough.

California's VFW and the Tipton American Legion Post welcome everyone to come out and remember those who have not made it home. They will have a speaker, the American Legion will fire the three rifle volleys and "Taps" will be played.

For more information, visit California's VFW's website at vfw4345.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp.

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